Title: Changing The Past
Posted originally: 12/14/02
Category: Time-travel, BtVS 2
Summary: Challenge response (Karura’s challenge).
Spoilers: Everything in BTVS from Season 1-3 and everything in Angel, seasons 1-3.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: E-mail me and ask, please.
Dedication: To Karura over at ST for setting this wonderful challenge.
Feedback: ‘Tis the thing I crave!
He’s practiced what he wants to say a hundred times already. Told her he loves her a hundred different ways and there are still two things wrong with this scenario.
One, she’s not here yet – which sort of works against him.
Two – everything he says or thinks he’ll say feels wrong. Will talking about what Buffy meant to him cheapen his feelings for Cordelia? Is it better to expect the worst, rather than hope? What if he can’t say it? He wants to tell her… But what if he can’t?
Of course one is directly linked with two – because he can’t tell her anything if she’s not here and… It’s so nice up here. Cordelia loves it here, so that makes it different for Angel. Not someplace he fought a Kravlock demon a few months ago, the fact that she loves it makes it something different… Something, beautiful.
Looking down, Angel checks his watch again. Cordelia’s never late. Well, not usually – unless it’s work-related. But this isn’t. Sighing, he fishes his keys from his pocket and turns.
“Connor?” Something’s wrong. Something’s happened and Angel doesn’t know what, but by the look on Connor’s face, it’s bad.
“What are you doing here?”
He smiles and suddenly, Angel feels more uneasy than he has in a long time.
“We’re family,” Replies Connor, “And I wanna show you how I feel about that.” With a move that both stuns and impresses Angel, Connor launches towards him, knocking them both backwards and making them stumble, close to the cliff’s edge.
“What the hell’s going on?” She only checked in on him for five minutes. Only wanted to see… Make sure he was… Oh God…
“Connor, talk to me.” Angel grabs Connor from behind, arms locked firmly behind his head. Something must have happened, Connor just wouldn’t attack like this. Not like this…
He waits a moment, before sighing and relaxing slightly in his father’s grip.
Angel backs off as Connor turns to look at him, a dark, haunted look in his son’s eyes. “Connor? What happened?”
If ever the Powers That Be were cruel, they were now… They show her, seconds before it occurs, what’s going to happen and Cordelia can do nothing but watch.
“You.” Sneers Connor coldly, “You happened. You happened and you took everything away from him. It wasn’t enough to take his children, was it Angelus? You took his life…”
“His life?” And even as Connor lunges towards him, stake in one hand, retrieved from his back pocket, Angel’s not expecting the blow. It hits… It hits and Angel roars in pain, the stake missing his heart by barely an inch. “Connor, stop…”
“Did you? He *gave* me up. He told you that I was yours, that you had me. That what I wanted was you, what I deserved was you and that wasn’t enough for you. You killed him…” Connor lunges for Angel again, sending them tumbling from the cliff.
“Walk in his world, learn all you can. Discover what of him is in you that you might fight against it. But be on your guard. Remember what I’ve taught you. The devil will show you bright things, many colours.”
A private moment shared between father and son, one Cordelia can see plain as day. They’re showing her, but to let her stop – that would be wrong and she feels that. Feels that even as tears run the length of her cheeks… After tonight there’ll be no more fighting, no more anything, not for Angel. There’ll be darkness, there’ll be grief.
He had a son…
There’s nothing worse than silence. When the waves are crashing around you and you know there should be sound, there’s nothing worse than silence – especially from the place you expect and want it most.
For as long as Angel can remember, the sound of a heartbeat has been comforting. The warmth, though small, that Connor’s body brought when it was cradled next to his…
And his fingers, covered in blood. Crouching next to his son, impaled on a sharp piece of rock that juts out from the sandy shores of Point Dume… Breath slipping away from him, he meets Angel’s eyes and whispers three words that make the vampire’s body bow and fall.
It’s not love he whispers sentiments of…
“What the hell did you do to him?!” The door crashes open and knocks Skip’s Matrix figures to the floor, causing the demon to jump up, startled.
“Hey! Hey! Watch the merchandise!”
“Because they’re collector’s items!” Skip rolls his eyes, even an untrained eye can see that.
“Not that!” She retorts, hotly, “THIS! WHY?!”
He’s never seen her quite this pissed before. At least, not to his recollection. Never seen her eyes so dark.
“Why what, Cordelia?”
“You took me away from him and you let… You let… Did you know that was going to happen?”
“Connor!” She yells, “He killed Connor. He killed…” Her voice goes quiet then and Skip stops to watch her. Well, okay, he’s more worried about his figures of Trinity and Morpheus but he’s worried about her too.
“Cordelia, you don’t belong there any longer. Angel will bounce back, he always does.”
“Bounce back? He killed his son and lost his friend all in one night, how the hell can he bounce back? You have to change it… I know you can…”
“It’s not as simple as that, Cordelia. You can’t change this, it’s not the kind of thing…”
“Listen to me, Skip.” Said Cordelia, firmly. “Listen to me and make sure you understand. Over the past few months I’ve watched Angel lose and regain everything only to have it all taken away again in one night. I have to do something, I can’t just… I can’t just not.”
Skip sighed, “Not the kinda demon that does things by the book, are ya?”
“Half-demon,” She amended, “Now send me back.”
She should know by now. She should have realised that when the Powers are being nice, that when ‘fate’ (if there is such a thing) takes a turn for the kinda good, or the happy, there’ll be a price attached to it.
It happened when Angel was turned human. That one day when he was allowed to be with Buffy and there was a price – one he had to pay, ironically… Coming wars, apocalypses – he’d have to face them. Vamped. Not-human. Not-happy, or so she’d thought.
He’d fought back like he’d always done. Put just that little more effort into his punches… Then Doyle had died… What followed was months of heartache and bouncing back, same old story over the past three years she’d worked with Angel. Get burned, pull yourself back, put yourself a little straighter.
Okay now, she was experiencing stuff that – well, weird? Didn’t even cover it.
First of all, she was in Sunnydale. How did she know? Well, you didn’t suddenly find yourself in a closet at work – unless your life had taken a turn for the seriously weird and you were kissing your boss.
Oh, she knew exactly where she was. In a closet, with Xander.
“Is it just me or is your mind not entirely on the lips at hand?”
And Cordelia was gaping at him, mouth opened, eyes wide and blinking in the light of the closet.
“Xander?!” She whispered.
Looking down, Xander patted his shirt, “Yup, that’d be me. Unless I happened to change in the last five minutes and- Wait a minute, is this you being all repressive?”
“Is that even a word?” She snapped.
“Yep,” Said Xander, “Same old Cordy.”
Blinking again, Cordelia looked at him, “Same old Cordy?”
He was wrong, so very very wrong…
“And you say you’re from the future?”
It was nice for Cordelia to know that some things had never changed, in all the time she… Hadn’t been away. Giles, still as stuffy as ever, cleaning his glasses and asking questions. She’d come here after assuring Xander that yes, she was fine
“I-I didn’t want to tell the guys about this because – well, I think I’m crazy, never mind anyone else.” Said the brunette, shaking her head.
“Understandable.” Said Giles, then, “Are you quite SURE you didn’t receive a bump to the head?”
“Yes! I’m sure, God, Giles – do you honestly think I’d make something like this up?”
“Ask me something? Not too… Well, personal. But just ask me something.”
“Cordelia, we shoul-“
“Okay. In one year from now, Buffy’s going to have some big slayer 18th birthday test thing called… The uh… Damn… The Crucial Mental?”
Giles started slightly, eyebrows shooting upwards, “The Cruciamentum?”
“That’s it!” Said Cordelia, “Not to give too much away, but she’ll be having one of those.”
Giles gaped at her, shaking his head. “W-well there could be an explanation. My Watcher’s diaries…”
“The ones you keep locked away?”
“The very same.” He nodded, shaking his head.
Cordelia frowned, “Look, I get that being careful is all very well and good but… Can we get back to the task at hand here? I’m… I’m my old-self again! And my old-self? Not that nice a place to be! I need to get to Angel!”
“You need to get to Angel? Why? Is he hurt?”
Turning, Cordelia looked at Buffy. “No, Angel’s… Angel. He’s… Fine.” It was more amounts of weird than she could handle, seeing Buffy standing in front of her, knowing that she’d died and knowing what was to come with Angel was… Well, bad. “Look, I gotta go…” Grabbing her purse, Cordelia walked out of the library and away from Buffy and Giles, tears welling up in her eyes.
Heels clacking on the floor, Cordelia swiped furiously at her tears, until a hand on her arm stopped her.
“Cordelia? Are you all right?” Asked Giles, tentatively.
“Do I LOOK all right?” She snapped, “Everything’s different. Buffy’s all doe-eyed over the guy that I’m in love with, the world switched on me and I don’t know how to switch it back.”
“You’re in love with Angel?” The surprise in his voice was evident. If Cordelia loved Angel, did he love her? And what exactly were the implications for Angel loving someone else – when he seemed so in love with his slayer.
“Yeah, I’m in love with Angel.” She frowned, “So?”
“Cordelia, whatever happened in your past, must stay that way. If you do something to jeopardise the future, everything will change…”
“So what, you’re telling me to stick this out? Re-live my high school days and watch as everything I know I can change just… Happens? No matter how bad it is?”
“Yes.” Said Giles, firmly, “That’s exactly what I’m telling you. If you were brought here from the future or from another dimension, then you were brought here for a reason, changing the past now would not only bring harm to you but all those around you.”
But that’s just it, thought Cordelia sadly as she looked up at Giles. The whole reason I was sent back was to change the past… And if I don’t…
“Cordelia, are you listening to me?” Asked Giles darkly, “You mustn’t do anything to change the course of what happens. Do you understand?”
The urgency underlying his voice scared Cordelia, if she changed the past then… She might never have Angel. But if she changed the past, he’d have Buffy, they could still be together.
“I understand.” Said Cordelia quietly, taking her arm from Giles’ grasp. “You don’t have to worry…”
“It’s not about winning, Cordelia, it’s about what’s at stake. And in this particular scenario you were way more important than winning… I did what I had to do. I’ll just deal with the consequences when they happen.”
It had never been about winning. When she realised that she loved Angel, Cordelia knew that it wasn’t about Buffy any more, not like it had been back in high school – it was about her, and Angel. It was about being happy.
Right now, this – whatever Skip had sent her back to – was about Angel being happy. It was about doing what was right, what she had to.
Angel was more important than winning, she’d just deal with the consequences when they happened…
Challenge by Karura: – Cordelia watches from her spot as a Higher Being as Angel inadvertantly kills Connor. Trying to go back in time to change the past proves harder than it’s worth, when Cordelia finds herself stuck in Sunnydale High School with a mind that wants to be in the future. Set BTVS Season 2.